Monday, January 23, 2012
2022 Thayer Bldg.
Translation in the Ancient and Modern Near East Near Eastern Studies Colloquium Series 2011-2012 The early 20th century Palestinian writer, translator, journalist and political activist Khalil Baydas (1873-1949) translated dozens of short stories and novels from Russian into Arabic over the course of his career. He is widely credited with introducing the Arab world to Russian literature. At the same time, critics and literary historians largely dismiss his translations, putting his work together with the ‘immature’ and ‘derivative’ work of early Arabic translators, a widespread trend in discussing Arabic literary translation during the 19th century. In dismissing the literary translation from this period, we miss an opportunity to examine the active ways in which translators manipulated foreign literary culture in bringing it into Arabic. By giving closer attention to Baydas’ translations as literary works in their own right, we open the door to new understandings of the complicated dynamics that shaped nahdawi thought and literature.